April 27, 2009

Rosemary and Ricotta Tart

109/365 ricotta tart by embem30

This tart was inspired by a dessert we had at Contigo in San Francisco. I based the filling on a ricotta/pine nut tart found in Mario Batali's book, Molto Italiano, and the crust is from Michael Ruhlman's book, Ratio.

If you can't find a meyer lemon, use half of a normal lemon. I used Bellwether Farms sheep's milk ricotta, but a cow-milk ricotta would work too.

This is best made in a 9" tart pan, but a pie tin will do. If you use a pie tin, the filling will come up halfway. After it is done baking, carefully trim the crust to be level with the filling. If you're feeling particularly lazy, you could use a store-bought pie or tart crust.

9 oz All purpose flour (a scant 2 cups)
6 oz butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2 tbsp sugar
2-3 oz cold water (1/4 cup plus 1-2 tbsp)
pinch of salt
pie weights (1/2 lb dry beans)
1-2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
8 oz ricotta cheese
1/4 cup of honey
1 small meyer lemon, or half a lemon
2 eggs
pinch of salt

Make the crust: Mix the flour, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Cut up the cold butter into chunks and work into flour and sugar, until you have pea-sized chunks. Try to use a squeezing rather than a rubbing action, so you don't heat up the butter too much. Add 2-3 oz cold water and mix to combine. I used almost 3 oz, but the dough was a little to sticky.

Form into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Roll and blind bake the crust: Flour your counter and rolling pin, and roll out the dough until it's about as thick as pie crust. To get it onto the tart pan, roll it onto your rolling pin and then unroll it over the pan. Trim the dough, leaving a little bit of overlap around the edges to account for shrinkage.

Cover with the dough with tin foil and add the pie weights. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375°F. Remove the tin foil and weights.

Assemble the tart: Meanwhile, mix all of the filling ingredients together - I used a tsp or two of finely chopped fresh rosemary. Add both the juice and the zest of the lemon. Taste it and adjust with salt, honey, and lemon juice if necessary. There should be a subtle sweetness.

Pour the mix into the tart shell and bake for 30-35 minutes. The crust should be golden brown. Allow to cool on a rack, then trim the crust to be level with the filling. (Emily saved the extra bits of crust for her morning tea the next day.) Cut into slices and serve with a drizzle of honey.

This can be served at any temperature, but I think it'd be best served warm with a quenelle of ice cream or crème fraîche.

Update: This didn't set up the second time I made this, not sure why. I'll update this post if I figure out the issue.